New business caters to sewing, hobby enthusiasts

Not since the days of the old Ben Franklin store downtown has Broken Bow had a place where a seamstress could purchase material, thread and about any sewing notion she could need - until now. Meet Susie Walker, owner of Broken Bow's newest business The Hobby Shack. Susie and her husband, Mark, moved to Broken Bow in February 2008, when she took a job at BD. Prior to moving here the family had lived in California and Idaho, but it didn't take long for the couple to fall in love with Broken Bow and settle in. Susie recalls an incident early on that planted a seed in her mind of what is now her dream business. "My daughter needed some craft items for a school project, and we weren't able to find what we needed here, so we had to drive to Kearney," Susie recalls. As someone who enjoys sewing and crafts herself, she quickly noticed there was no store in Broken Bow - or even close by - to get those types of items. In March 2009, Mark opened The Smoke Shack south of Dollar General. When the opportunity arose to purchase a building for Mark's growing business, Susie also finally saw her chance to make her dream a reality. The couple purchased the former Broken Bow Sew & Vac building and began remodeling. Last Friday, it all came together as Susie hosted a ribbon cutting and open house for The Hobby Shack. And what an open house it was! Susie says she was thrilled when more than 200 people came in to check out the new store. She describes The Hobby Shack as an overall fabric and craft store. "We would like it to be the place people think of first when thinking of a hobby or craft," she says. The store already has lots of fabric to choose from, with plans to bring in much more - such as Husker fleece and cotton, and laces and satins in preparation for prom and wedding season. They carry a large line of thread, both regular and quilters, as well as buttons and zipper of all types and sizes - even metal coverall zippers. For the crafters, there is a large assortment of cross stitch DMC floss in 447 colors, aida cloth and embroidery iron-on appliques. Susie currently has Simplicity patterns in the store, and will be bringing in both Butterick and McCalls in the near future. One of the things Susie says she likes best about the store is the room for expansion and growth. As people come in and ask for specific items, she writes them all down and does her best to fill those requests. While she already carries a lot of scrapbooking items, she is planning to add much more in that department too, including Cricut machines and dyes. She carries card stock, stamps and accessories, acrylic paints, Wilton cake decorating supplies, some beading with much more to come, knitting and crocheting needles and yarn, and plastic canvas with patterns and yarn. The store also has a small wedding section, and Susie says she can special order a wide variety of wedding items. In the near future she plans to add leather, stained glass and wood working items. Susie plans to do more than just supply craft and sewing items for sale, she also plans to host classes and workshops to help people learn how to use them. A large "classroom" is located in the back of the store, complete with a small kitchen. In the future, scrapbooking classes, wood working classes and stained glass classes will be planned. The room is also available for anyone who would just like a quiet place to go to scrapbook, and is also available for meetings and birthday parties. "It would be great for birthday parties - each guest can make a little craft to take home with them," Susie says. The Hobby Shack is also a drop-off and pick-up location for North Platte Sew & Vac, and Susie takes in consignments of local hand-crafted items to sell in the store. Susie says she is excited about the growth in the community, and even more excited to be a part of that. She believes the kind of customer service people get by shopping locally is the biggest advantage for local businesses. "I want everyone who walks through the door to know they matter," says Susie. "We just want to be here for the community." The Hobby Shack is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m., and is located at 320 south 8th Avenue.